Meeting Mandy & Kevin from “188sqft”

While staying on the BLM lands of Joshua Tree South, we also met Mandy and Kevin from “188 Sq Ft.” We had been conversing on Instagram off and on for a little while before meeting, and I had also previously sent them a couple of custom pet mugs from “Mugsy Supply House,” my Etsy shop. We had talked about meeting up should our paths ever cross, and it turned out that they were headed to Joshua Tree South as our time there was coming to a close. It was perfect timing. Mandy messaged us on a random afternoon and asked if we wanted to come over for pad Thai, to which we obviously said yes.

Dinner was super fun, and we got to check out their beautiful remodeled fifth wheel and meet all their really cute pets. At some point, we mentioned that we were considering moving to a different campsite up the road soon. Since the spot they were staying at was really big, they invited us to come park next to them, and we are so glad we took them up on the offer! It was seriously such a great week.

Over the next week, we took turns having each other over for dinners and other fun activities in the evenings after work. We hosted taco night, movie night, and a bonfire night, all separately. They hosted that first dinner and a homemade gnocchi night, where they taught us how to make gnocchi, which is so delicious! We have since made our own homemade gnocchi using their awesome recipe.

Mandy and I also ran errands together a couple of times and made a trip to Cactus Mart all the way up by Morongo Valley, where we dug our own baby cacti! Mine are still thriving in their little baby pots.

Since we both have Etsy shops, Mandy and I each also took turns showing each other how we make our goods. She came over one morning and watched me make and package mugs, which is pretty boring compared to her jewelry-making. A few days later, I went over and watched her make lovely little onyx rings, and she even made one custom for me! It’s so cute and dainty, and I wear it as part of my daily jewelry get-up. (Check out her awesome jewelry shop: The Road to Silver.)

We also spent a full day exploring some of the surrounding areas that we had yet to see. In the morning, we drove up Mt. San Jacinto. The ascent was beautiful, and we were stoked to see pine trees everywhere since we had been in the desert for so long, where trees are few and far between.

We stopped at a few scenic overlooks during our drive up the mountain, and on one of these stops, I brought my lint roller out with me to work on while I walked to the vista (I know, so lame…#germanshepherdownerproblems). While taking pictures of the lovely view, I put the lint roller down on the sign, and I forgot it when we walked back to the car. Luckily, Bren ran back and retrieved it for me, but not before getting this silly shot:

When we reached the top of the mountain, we explored the cute little town of Idyllwild, where we had lunch and spent a couple hours exploring the little shops throughout the town. We headed back to our RVs around midday, with plans of heading out to explore again in the early evening.

That night, we went out to dinner in Palm Springs, which we had never seen before. The town is known for its awesome, upscale restaurants and art-deco, Hollywood feel, and these were exactly the kind of vibes we sensed upon arrival. We had dinner at this fancy, second-story pizza place before walking the downtown Palm Springs area for a little while. Then, we headed to Pappy & Harriet’s, a famous Western-themed bar, for drinks and live music. We didn’t get back home until after 2 am, which is a very late night for us (we’re so old, haha).

The next day was our last full day in Joshua Tree, and Mandy and I spent some time painting terracotta plant pots, which was so fun! I had been putting off this mini-project for awhile, but having someone to do it with made it way more enjoyable. We had an awesome bonfire that night, which we had been putting off all week due to wind and bad weather. We finally made it happen, and we roasted hot dogs and s’mores and had some great chats around the fire. What is it about bonfires that always makes for the best conversations?

On our last day in Joshua Tree, we got up to make breakfast and begin packing up to head out. Mandy popped over to give me some cactus fertilizer (which works awesome by the way!), and Bren made us all delicious breakfast burritos. We got the dogs together for one last hangout (their two and our three), and they had so much fun running all over the open desert together. Archie was especially interested in their Luna (we both have dogs named Luna!), which was funny because he is usually way more into people rather than other dogs. Even though we had been outside Joshua Tree for over a month and were more than ready to head out, they suddenly made it harder to leave.

The week spent hanging out with Mandy and Kevin was one of the most fun weeks we’ve had so far since leaving NJ in December. Sometimes RVing can be pretty lonely since we are constantly traveling to new places where we don’t know anyone and where nothing is familiar. From our love of plants and pets to our mutual pursuit of entrepreneurship, we had a lot in common with them, and they were super great company. It’s nice to have friends to occasionally catch up with and with whom to share the struggles and joys of RV life. We hope to meet up with them again in the months and years of travel to come!

About Samantha Binger

Samantha BingerSam is one-half of the Life Among Pines crew. She is an animal-loving bookworm, an avid photographer and an amateur chef/wanna-be foodie. Travel and adventure are two of her biggest passions in life, and she loves living life on the road, where she can explore new places on the daily. When not writing a new blog post, you can find her sipping tea, hiking with her dogs, sampling a local brewery, or fulfilling orders for her Etsy shop, MugsySupplyHouse. Feel free to reach out and say hi!